By Ali G. Macabalang
Emergency responders from Muslim Mindanao, including two decommissioned Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), have honed further their skills in rescue operations in the world-class training center of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in Zambales, officials announced Tuesday.
Ranny D. Magno, head of the SBMA’s renowned Fire Prevention Department, and his staff trained 21 workers of the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI) unit of the Bangsamoro autonomous government for straight 10 days until March 29, READI Administrator Evelyn Estorque told the Philippine Muslim Today news Tuesday.
Magno, one of very few 10 Filipino trainers in the global Incident Command System (ICS), coached the 21 trainees, 19 males and two females, on natural and human-induced disasters especially on search and rescue operations in collapsed buildings, REDI media relations chief Myrna Jo Henry said in separate interview by phone.
Henry, a graduate of full ICS training courses, accompanied the trainees who, she said, included two ex-combatants of the BIAF, the armed wing of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) now associated with the administration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
All training actions were held at one of seven SBMA Fire Prevention Stations, particularly Station 4, which serves as the fully-equipped practicum venue called “Fun House,” Henry said.
“After the training, we toured around the Zambales-based former American Military Base and were ushered to a meeting with SBMA Chairperson Wilma Eisman,” she said.
Interviewed last year in Davao City, where an ICS executive course was joined by this writer as trainee, Magno said
He and other Filipino ICS mentors have been helping trainnaguib emergency response volunteers since 2019 “as part of our contribution to building a well-prepared governance of the autonomous government.”
The READI project is the BARMM’s upgraded version of the defunct Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART) of the now abolished Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
It is under the supervision of BARMM’s Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, and has been in the forefront of emergency paramedical and relief operations for human-induced and natural calamities in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces and the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato as well as 63 villages in North Cotabato that have opted for autonomy.
In December 2019, Minister Sinarimbo forged a formal partnership for READI operations with United Nations’ High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) Country Mission head Shinji Kubo and Bangkok-based E-Center Coordinator Peter Kozelets.
The UNHCR kicked off its support by partnering with the MILG-BARMM in staging an Emergency Preparedness and Response Workshop for 25 Bangsamoro emergency responders at Davao City’s Samal Island. AGM